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C1/D Visa Questions

The C1/D visa falls under the non-immigrant visa section. It is only given to ship or airline crewmembers who don’t have U.S. passports to enter and exit the country. This visa can be issued either to individual crew members or the whole crew at one time. As per immigration law, C1/D visa holders need to enter and leave the country on board the same airline or vessel.

Listed below are a few questions answered by immigration lawyers on C1/D visa related issues.

Can a C1-D visa holder get a student visa in the United States?

Unfortunately, a C1-D visa holder will not be able to apply for any other visa. He/she must return home to apply for a different visa.

I am a C1-D visa holder who married a U.S. citizen. Can I change my status in the United States?

It is not possible for a C1-D visa holder to change status in the U.S. If you are sponsored by your spouse, you would have to return to your country for an immigrant interview and could be subject to a 3-10 year bar to return to the U.S.

I entered the country on a C1-D visa and later quit my job and went to Philadelphia. My new boss wants to be my sponsor and I want to know if this is possible.

Even if your employer wants to sponsor you as an employee, you would have to go back to your country and apply for an immigrant visa. You cannot adjust your status while remaining in the United States now. If you stay in the U.S. for more than 180 days out of status, your departure would trigger a 3-year ban from re-entering the U.S. If you over stay by a year, you could be banned for 10 years.

Is it possible for me to use my C1-D visa for transit via the U.S. while not on duty?

No. You can only use this visa as a passenger to join a vessel or an aircraft. If you get caught doing otherwise, you could get deported and barred from entering the U.S. for ten years.

As a C1-D visa holder, how can I get a Green Card?

It is not possible to adjust your status in the United States if you entered the country as a crew member.

There are, however, five ways to live permanently in the U.S. These are through family, employment, asylum, investment, or a lottery. They are explained below.
  1. 1. Family – In order to come immediately, you would have to be sponsored by immediate family like a spouse who is a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Citizen’s children who are over 21 years of age. In comparison, it would probably take between 4 -12 years to come if you are sponsored by a U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident parents, siblings who are U.S. Citizens, or a spouse who is a Lawful Permanent Resident.
  2. 2. Employment – You would need to prove you would not be taking away a job from a U.S. worker. The less experience and education qualifications you have, the harder this is to prove.
  3. 3. Asylum – You would need to prove you could be persecuted, tortured, or killed if you go back to your home country and that this could happen to you based on your race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. You cannot claim asylum because you run the risk of falling victim to a crime or bad economic conditions, just as anyone in your country might.
  4. 4. Investment – This could amount to around $1,000,000 for residency, or $100,000 to $200,000 to begin for a temporary visa.
  5. 5. Lottery – This is difficult as you would be competing to win one of the 50,000 visas available per year.

C1/D visas can also be given to passengers who are going to the U.S. to join a commercial aircraft or ship. However, C1/D visa holders who are crew members cannot work on domestic flights or movements of a vessel within domestic territory. They can perform their duties only on stopovers for international flights when this kind of flight has only one aircraft which leaves from and stops at a location outside the United States.
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